Main Street on Colorado State 162, Chaffee County, CO

Status: Former Mining Settlement, Historical Ghost Town; Buildings are privately owned

By Dariusz KowalczykCC BY-SA 3.0Link


This former silver and gold mining town was founded in 1880 in the Sawatch Range about 20 miles from Buena Vista.

The 1890’s were the boom years of the town with a population of about 2,000, three major mines operating and over 150 mining claims. There was a school, multiple saloons and hotels, a newspaper and a telegraph office were even built. Even the railroad and the postal office maintained a presence here.

The veins of gold and silver began to dry out and in 1922 the railroad shut down resulting in the last mine closing and a massive loss of population. Mail service was cut in 1952 when the town’s postmaster died.

A fire in 2002 destroyed the town hall and other buildings although a historical group is working on rebuilding the town hall.

Although no one now lives in St Elmo year round the General Store is open in the summer and allows tourists - who access the town via the old mining roads – to rent off-roads vehicles and buy supplies.


Paranormal Activity

The prominent Stark Family are said to have acted as if they were better than everyone else when St Elmo was a functioning town but they were also the last to leave when the town died.

Their pretty daughter, Annabelle, almost escaped by getting a job in another town and getting married but things didn’t work out and she had to move back to St Elmo.

In 1934 the patriarch, Roy, passed away followed shortly by his wife leaving only Annabelle and her brother as the only year round residents left in the town. Annabelle ran the general store – which was generally filled with out of date products – and was friendly to the few customers that still entered the store.

After the town’s official death – with the closure of the Post Office (see above) – Annabelle and her brother, Tony, were removed and put in an insane asylum (for their own safety, of course). Tony would die shortly afterward and Annabelle was moved to a nursing home where she passed away in 1960.

Shortly after Annabelle passed paranormal activity began to be reported in the town.

The vast majority of the activity centers around the old hotel where Annabelle once lived with her brother. Legend says she still protects the town from vandals and trespassers.

There are reports of her apparition being seen in a white dress in the windows of the hotel or walking the town’s streets in grimy torn clothes. One story is of the woman in white being seen by a skier passing through town. There were a group of snowmobilers heading into the town the ghost was watching. The skier told the snowmobilers they were not allowed to come into the town and turned them around. The lady in white nodded to the skier from the hotel window before turning and disappearing into thin air.

When a group attempted to clean up the hotel their cleaning supplies were found moved to the center of the room; although, they had been organized and put away every night. They were even found removed from a padlocked storage closet.

People in the hotel have reported objects moving on their own; extreme temperature drops; feelings of not being alone and doors opening and closing on their own.